Hospitals are burdened with multiple tasks when it comes to managing their medication inventory. In the midst of a pandemic, visibility and interoperability have never been more critical. Drug shortages have been an obstacle in the industry for years, in addition to the need for reliable tracking methods for drugs within the hospital pharmacy from manufacturer to patient use.
This challenge turns out to be harder as Covid-19 cases making another peck count everyday. Even before the global COVID-19 crisis, clinicians have had to act as de facto supply chain experts to keep their hospitals stocked with the medications that patients need. Although the 21st century has modernized many parts of the hospital pharmacy, there is still work to be done on the medical intelligence front, especially as the healthcare industry unites to combat the current pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has significantly disrupted the global pharmaceutical supply chain, which is heavily reliant on China and India. Countries that provide key raw materials for drug production have implemented restrictions and precautions of drugs, with some prohibiting the exportation of drugs.
Thankfully, there are several ways that stakeholders throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain are utilizing technology to help combat these issues.
It is imperative for hospital pharmacists to have full visibility into their medication inventory from the moment the drug is checked into inventory through its administration to the patient. Artificial intelligence (AI) and radio frequency identification device (RFID) software solutions can help fully automate shipping, receiving, restocking, inventory management, and anomalous usage of controlled and non-controlled medications.
AI and RFID tools can provide predictive insights that are impactful in pandemic situations where shortages and potential drug diversion abound. Item-level medication tracking can help those on the frontline of the pandemic, such as hospital pharmacists, nurses, and pharmacy techs, by tracking medication from manufacturer to patient, alerting hospital staff when levels of a specific drug are extremely low.
RFID scanning tools can be used for easy allocation to the patients who need the medications on shortage the most.
Companies like Screencheck, have significant medical clients who rely on RFID technology. As one of the most reliable biometric solution providers of the Middle East, Screencheck observes that many hospitals have implemented biometric services and RFID technology in Dubai during the early stages of pandemic.